Womb and cervical cancer: Help us find new ways to detect if cancer has spread

Last updated: 06/11/2015

Scientists working in a labWhat’s this project about?

Almost 10,600 women are diagnosed with cancer of the womb or cervix every year. Sadly, around 1 in 4 of these women will lose their lives to the disease.

We need to do more to improve the outlook for these women. To be better able to tell whether the cancer has spread can affect a woman’s treatment. New techniques could lead to more accurate assessments of women with womb and cervical cancer.

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Project Closed – November 2015

Thank you for helping to raise over £16,000 for pioneering research into womb and cervical cancer. With the continued help of our supporters we can accelerate our progress against this devastating disease.

As the grant supporting this work has now come to an end, we now need to close this project and have made up the remaining amount through our general funds.

In the meantime, if you would like to continue to support our work, we're raising money for many areas of groundbreaking research. Take a look at all of our current research projects.

What’s the science behind this project?

In order to decide the best course of treatment for their patients, doctors need to be able to accurately assess how advanced a cancer of the endometrium (womb lining) or cervix is. For example if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes the cancer can be more difficult to treat. The lymph nodes are a network of glands throughout the body which fight infection.

Professor Andrea Rockall is a consultant radiologist based at Queen Mary, University of London. Her study will find out if a new cutting-edge MRI scan and a new type of PET/CT scan can help doctors identify the stage of a woman’s cancer and if it has spread. Doctors currently use conventional MRI to find out what stage the primary cancer is at, and use surgery to find out if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. The two new imaging techniques will be compared with conventional MRI and surgery, and with each other, to see which is better and more effective.

Professor Rockall and her team will recruit 150 women with endometrial and cervical cancer to take part in the study. All women taking part will receive both scanning techniques and surgery to take a sample of their lymph nodes. The findings will then be compared.

If successful, these new scanning techniques could improve the way doctors determine what stage a woman’s endometrial or cervical cancer is, and in turn improve how they select the best treatment for them. This study could also remove the need for some women with these cancers to have invasive surgery to see if the cancer has spread to their lymph nodes.

The difference you can make

We’ve been at the forefront of medical advances to find new ways to prevent and treat cervical cancers and we were key in the development of the cervical cancer screening programme. We have also helped to develop and change the way we use radiotherapy, which is used to treat both womb and cervical cancers. With your support we can continue to strive towards new discoveries that will improve the lives and treatment of women with these cancers.

Body of Art

Body of ArtBody of Art is a project creating photographic sculptures of tattooed celebrities and sports personalities to be auctioned to raise funds for Cancer Research UK. The project is run by photographic artist John Kelly and his wife Emmanuelle Fournier-Kelly.
John explains, “Body of Art began some years ago when I was asked to take pictures for a tattoo artist of people he’d worked on.  I was fascinated listening to the reasons people gave for getting their mementos.

"One story really struck me. A young guy called Sam had been getting a series of religious imagery tattoos. I asked if they were a bond to his faith, he said no, then went on to explain his girlfriend had died of brain cancer six months earlier at the age of 18 and they were in memory of her.”
“At the time I didn’t have a personal experience of what it was like to lose someone you love to cancer. I do now. My mother was taken ill a couple of years ago with womb cancer and died in a month.”
Since 6 November 2011, John and Emmanuelle have been contacting celebrities and sports personalities asking for their involvement. So far two sports stars and three musicians have agreed to pose and we hope many more will follow. To find out more about who’s getting involved, visit the Body of Art website.